Mar 8, 2014 12:48 AM by Alex Labat
We're digging deeper into what exactly led police to re-arrest a suspect in the shooting death of a 5-year-old boy in Opelousas. The 16-year-old boy initially facing weapons charges in the case, is now also charged with second-degree murder in the death of 5-year-old Jon'qualon Pitre.
The family tells us this brings them some peace. They gathered today to pray for justice for the young victim, who was shot and killed in front of his home on Martin Luther King Junior Drive in Opelousas last week, just minutes after 4:00 pm.
Then, about 20 minutes later, the initial 911 call. Police arrived on scene, later questioning people who they believed were in the area, and were told conflicting stories. One of those individuals was the 16-year-old, now charged, who told police it was his gun. He says he brought the gun to the home before the shooting, but was not there when shots were fired.
Because of inconsistencies in witness statements, police "pinged" the 16-year-old's cell phone. Calls were made from the teen's phone from a different location within minutes of the 911 call.
Fast forward to Friday.
"The direction of the investigation changed based on additional evidence, related to the actual time of the shooting versus the time believed to have been the shooting initially", says Opelousas Police Chief Perry Gallow. Police have learned of a twenty minute lapse between the shooting and the 911 call, and additional evidence led police to re-arresting the suspect. "There's no two DNA alike and this individual handled this weapon and we are certain that this is the weapon that was used in the shooting and there's no foreign DNA on the weapon and no unidentifiable DNA", says Gallow.
Another piece of the puzzle, police say, is testimony from Jon'qualon's 7-year-old brother. The 7-year-old's story proved consistent throughout the investigation. He told his father and police, the 16-year-old saw Jon'qualon playing with his gun, and told the 5-year-old, "If I ever catch you with that gun, I'm going to shoot you".
"My little boy was like, "He's bleeding, he's bleeding, he got shot". So when I went up to see what was going on he was just laying down on the ground", says Shawndree Pitre, Jon'qualon's mother. Police say the 5-year-old was shot at point blank range. While no one was tested for gunshot residue OPD sent the weapon off to the State Police Crime Lab, and the DNA was pulled from the weapon. DNA that police say matches the suspect. "There's no two DNA alike and this individual handled this weapon and we are certain that this is the weapon that was used in the shooting and there's no foreign DNA on the weapon no unidentifiable DNA, says Gallow.
That DNA evidence is what allegedly disproved the teenagers alibi, and backed up the story of a 7-year-old, who's brother won't be coming back. "My 7-year-old has to live with that. Seeing that. And me coming home seeing him stretched out on the ground", says Pitre.
The shooting was initially reported as a drive-by where a white car was seen leaving the area. Opelousas Police noe tell us that white car is what the 16-year-old used to